ZTE teases Firefox OS phone, reveals 5.7-inch Grand Memo phablet

With Mobile World Congress now fast approaching, the giants of the industry are gearing up to unleash their newest and most exciting new devices on an eager global market. One such brand is ZTE, who sent out invitations to their MWC event this morning, taking the opportunity to drop a little hint of what to expect. 

Under the tagline "life is grand", the event teases the launch of two major new mobile devices at MWC. The first hashtag mentioned points to ZTE's Grand Memo, a 5.7-inch phablet which the company quietly showed off for the first time today in Hong Kong.

Rocking a 13MP camera and HD (1280x720px) display, the device runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, and also features a quad-core 1.7GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and microSD slot, all squeezed into a sleek (if non-descript) 8mm-thick body. The Grand Memo will get its full launch - presumably with a bit more pizzazz - at MWC. 

But it's the second hashtag mentioned in the MWC invite that's really interesting. #ZTEMozilla appears to be a thinly veiled hint pointing towards the launch of ZTE's first Firefox OS handset. Mozilla announced that it was working on its own mobile operating system back in July last year, and promised that the first devices with the new HTML5-based OS would launch in 2013. We got our first glimpse of Firefox OS running on ZTE hardware in September, although the first official developer devices, revealed just over a week ago, were manufactured by Geeksphone.

Sadly, it seems that we'll have to keep waiting beyond MWC for news of ZTE's Blade 8, the 5.9-inch Windows Phone 8 phablet with a stylus, which is reportedly in development; ZTE is expected to launch at least one new Windows Phone in the first quarter of this year.

Source: ZTE | handset image via Engadget

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What a waste of time for Mozilla. This (Firefox OS) will not gain any significant market share. If they can't make a decent Web browser on Android, I highly doubt they can make a decent mobile OS.

lolwut? Firefox on Android is waaay better than the stock browser, at least for the 95% of the market that is not on 4.2, and then on the latest Android you could say they are pretty much tied, each one with its own strengths.

gonchuki said,
lolwut? Firefox on Android is waaay better than the stock browser, at least for the 95% of the market that is not on 4.2, and then on the latest Android you could say they are pretty much tied, each one with its own strengths.
Hell no it's not. It's clunky, and slow compared to the stock browser on Android JB (4.1/4.2) on a Galaxy Nexus Toro. The stock browser is really quick and every time I try Firefox, I end up uninstalling it immediately.

Once again, how many JB 4.1/4.2 devices are out there? it might be "slow" for you but everyone else still on a 2.3/4.0 device finds Firefox performance miles ahead of the stock browser.

They don't want market share, they want to ignite some competition and get other vendors doing the right thing. They accomplished their mission with the desktop version of Firefox, this is their try at doing the same on mobile.

You make it sound like there are no other alternatives to the stock browser on anything running less than Android 4.1/4.2, which is not true. There are many great speedy browsers, but I have found stock browser to be best in terms of speed even on my Android 2.1/2.2/2.3 Droid Incredible. On the desktop end, the major browser Firefox was up against was IE, so it was easy to dominate the market early on. So, a little different on both ends.

Getting back on topic, I still see this is a failure waiting to happen for Mozilla. They don't have apps/developers - who wants to develop for yet another OS (and especially one that has no traction), and there is no Mozilla ecosystem - Google has Play services, Apple serves everything through iTunes, Mozilla got nothing. No music, videos, books, magazines etc. Besides, only one manufacturer has even risked announcing a device. I can see this OS targeted not at Joe/Jane Schmo, but one that's aimed at tech enthusiasts.

Looks like you know nothing about this OS It *is* for the average Joe on a budget, that's why one of the first markets they are targeting is Brazil.

Plus, they don't need exclusive apps/developers, if you at least read a little about it their approach is similar to that of WebOS with the difference that they are creating new standards along the way so that you don't just create an app for Firefox OS, but for any device (desktop, tablet or mobile) that is able to expose a certain set of features. Every part of their OS is coded using such open API, so for example the Dialer app is just an HTML page that uses the exposed telephony API from the phone, same with Contacts or the Camera app. Think of it as Chrome OS for phones.

What does this mean for you, is that if they manage to get traction with those proposed standards they won't need exclusive developers for "their" platform, as their platform is actually open and apps will be cross-OS, like any other website is.

Yes, I did read all of that and I understand all of that - you're just assuming that I don't. That still means absolutely nothing when users will want a stable and well developed platform with apps, and an ecosystem. For your average Joe Schmo, it's all about the apps! It is going to be extremely difficult when Mozilla is 'pioneering' all this as it is a small company compared to Google, Microsoft or Apple.

phablet... that term is kicking my OCD into over drive and bothers the hell out of me and I cant figure out why I hate it so much... who ever coined this term should be shot. Just as bad as "sexting"

It it can make calls its a phone (under 6 inches, over is insane)
If it cant its a tablet. (over 6 inches,)

I dunno I just hate the term phablet, sounds douchey.

It'll be really interesting to see if app developers jump on this, otherwise this is definitely dead in the water.
And I'm not optimistic about app developers jumping on it.